November 14th was World Diabetes Day, celebrated in over 160 countries around the world. It’s most certainly a global problem, but diabetes has plenty of local presence, too: over 900 000 people have been diagnosed in Ontario alone.
Diabetes affects our ability to get sugar from the blood into the cells where it’s needed to run our bodies. In Type I diabetes, there simply is no insulin to do the sugar transfer job. The pancreas is supposed to produce it, but it doesn’t. In Type II diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but the cells just don’t respond to it – they’ve become “insulin resistant”.
Here’s the thing, though: Type II diabetes accounts for 90% of all diabetes cases, and it’s largely preventable.
You’ve heard that diabetes is genetic, but that’s not the entire story. Your family may have given you susceptibility, but that’s it. The real trouble starts when you put that susceptibility in a high calorie, high fructose corn syrup, overweight environment.
But here’s the good news: if you’re heading down the genetic pathway to diabetes, you can change direction.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, clearly outlined the power of lifestyle change. In this study, 523 people with pre-diabetes (their blood sugar was off, but not at diabetic levels yet), were given the following goals:
• Reduce body weight by 5%
• Reduce total dietary fat to <30%
• Reduce dietary saturated fat to <10%
• Increase dietary fiber to 30g/day
• Walk 30 minutes/day
If the person did not achieve any of these goals, their chance of developing diabetes was approximately 30%. Of the people who achieved 4-5 of these goals, however, not a single person went on to develop diabetes. Not one.
The study points to one empowering result: we really do have the power to change our genetic destiny!